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Hindsight judgement on ambiguous episodes of suspected infection in critically ill children: poor consensus amongst experts?


Fischer, Joachim E; Seifarth, Federico G; Baenziger, Oskar; Fanconi, Sergio; Nadal, David (2003). Hindsight judgement on ambiguous episodes of suspected infection in critically ill children: poor consensus amongst experts? European Journal of Pediatrics, 162(12):840-843.

Abstract

Few episodes of suspected infection observed in paediatric intensive care are classifiable without ambiguity by a priori defined criteria. Most require additional expert judgement. Recently, we observed a high variability in antibiotic prescription rates, not explained by the patients' clinical data or underlying diseases. We hypothesised that the disagreement of experts in adjudication of episodes of suspected infection could be one of the potential causes for this variability. During a 5-month period, we included all patients of a 19-bed multidisciplinary, tertiary, neonatal and paediatric intensive care unit, in whom infection was clinically suspected and antibiotics were prescribed (n=183). Three experts (two senior ICU physicians and a specialist in infectious diseases) were provided with all patient data, laboratory and microbiological findings. All experts classified episodes according to a priori defined criteria into: proven sepsis, probable sepsis (negative cultures), localised infection and no infection. Episodes of proven viral infection and incomplete data sets were excluded. Of the remaining 167 episodes, 48 were classifiable by a priori criteria (n=28 proven sepsis, n= 20 no infection). The three experts only achieved limited agreement beyond chance in the remaining 119 episodes (kappa = 0.32, and kappa = 0.19 amongst the ICU physicians). The kappa is a measure of the degree of agreement beyond what would be expected by chance alone, with 0 indicating the chance result and 1 indicating perfect agreement. Conclusion: agreement of specialists in hindsight adjudication of episodes of suspected infection is of questionable reliability

Abstract

Few episodes of suspected infection observed in paediatric intensive care are classifiable without ambiguity by a priori defined criteria. Most require additional expert judgement. Recently, we observed a high variability in antibiotic prescription rates, not explained by the patients' clinical data or underlying diseases. We hypothesised that the disagreement of experts in adjudication of episodes of suspected infection could be one of the potential causes for this variability. During a 5-month period, we included all patients of a 19-bed multidisciplinary, tertiary, neonatal and paediatric intensive care unit, in whom infection was clinically suspected and antibiotics were prescribed (n=183). Three experts (two senior ICU physicians and a specialist in infectious diseases) were provided with all patient data, laboratory and microbiological findings. All experts classified episodes according to a priori defined criteria into: proven sepsis, probable sepsis (negative cultures), localised infection and no infection. Episodes of proven viral infection and incomplete data sets were excluded. Of the remaining 167 episodes, 48 were classifiable by a priori criteria (n=28 proven sepsis, n= 20 no infection). The three experts only achieved limited agreement beyond chance in the remaining 119 episodes (kappa = 0.32, and kappa = 0.19 amongst the ICU physicians). The kappa is a measure of the degree of agreement beyond what would be expected by chance alone, with 0 indicating the chance result and 1 indicating perfect agreement. Conclusion: agreement of specialists in hindsight adjudication of episodes of suspected infection is of questionable reliability

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:National licences > 142-005
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Pediatrics, Perinatology and Child Health
Language:English
Date:1 December 2003
Deposited On:11 Oct 2018 13:31
Last Modified:15 Apr 2021 14:54
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0340-6199
OA Status:Green
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s00431-002-0959-z

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